Welcome to the Mantids Axarquía website

This website displays my studies on the Mantids and some of the Orthoptera of central-southern Spain.  I moved to southern Spain from England in 2007, retiring after over 30 years in the fields of ecology and nature conservation.  I now live below a hilltop pueblo in central Axarquía: the eastern part of Málaga province.  In my teens and twenties I was interested in insects before work in other areas pulled me away.  Now I have taken it up again and for a number of years I have been discovering the Orthoptera in this area particularly those within the Parques Naturales of the Montes de Málaga and the Sierras de Tejeda & Almijara.  In recent years I have put more effort into a study of the Mantodea, particularly the behaviour and ecology of those within the sub-family Amelinae.  To date, this has concentrated on conspecific behaviour of Ameles picteti and A spallanzania.  A number of papers are in the process of being written and any links to published works [when available] will be added to the list below.

Most of this site is now devoted to mantids, though the ‘Orthoptera’ page gives details of some of the more interesting Orthoptera that I have come across. A summary of my mantid behavioural studies is shown on the ‘mantis behaviour’ page and more detail can be found in published papers. Descriptions of the ecology of Iberian mantids are shown on the ‘Amelinae’ and ‘Other Mantis’ pages. I am not a taxonomist and so have included little taxonomic data. The best sources for identification of the native species are: ‘Mantids of the Euro-Mediterranean Area’ by Batiston et al and ‘The Mediterranean species of the genus Ameles… with a biographic and phylogenetic evaluation’ by Agabiti et al [Boletín SEA: 47, 2010]. The ‘Study and Maintenance’ page gives more details of how I study and keep mantids and some description of the principal area of study. The initial aim of this web site was to make available the information resulting from my studies.  However, I have recently realised that it would be useful to include some basic facts about mantids for those readers who know little about them and so I have now included this on the ‘About Mantids’ page.

The majority of papers written in the past about the behaviour of mantids have described the behaviour, particularly the mating behaviour, as ‘display’.  Whilst this is true of deimatic displays, I have come to believe that much of the conspecific behaviour I have seen may not be the sort of visual signals that should be described as displays.  I therefore usually use the term ‘signal’ for most of the conspecific behaviour that I have seen and describe.  One of the main challenges in studying mantid behaviour is a semiotic one in so far as mantids communicate in auditory, visual and olfactory channels whereas the human observer has only normal access to their visual one.  It is therefore possible that what might be seen as a visual display is in reality the means of producing an ultrasonic signal or dispersing an olfactory one.

Published works on Orthopteroid Insects:

(1972)   A Survey of the Spartina-feeding insects in Poole Harbour, Dorset. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine108: 66-79. 

(1973)   Some aspects of the ecology and behaviour of Ectobius pallidus (Oliver) (Dictyoptera).  Entomologist's Gazette, 24: 67-74

(1977)   The distribution of Orthoptera at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire.  Entomologist's Gazette, 28229-242.

(2017) Observaciones ecológicas sobre dos especies de Ameles (Mantodea: Insecta) en la parte centro-sur de España junto con unas breves notas sobre otros Amelinae en España peninsular. Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 60: 347-348

(2017)   Observations on the behaviour of Ameles [Insecta: Mantodea] in southern Spain: (1) Ameles picteti (Saussure, 1869). Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 60: 335-339

(2017)   Observations on the behaviour of Ameles [Insecta: Mantodea] in southern Spain: (2) Ameles spallanzania (Rossi, 1792). Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa. 60: 341-346

(2018)  Roberto Battiston, José Correas, Francesco Lombardo, Mohamed Mouna, Keith Payne & Kai Schütte.   Morphological convergences in Ameles Burmeister and Pseudoyersinia Kirby: Taxonomic implications of wing reduction and flight predisposition in some West-Mediterranean Amelini (Insecta: Mantodea).  Zootaxa 4377 (1): 21-38

Unpublished works on Orthopteroid Insects:

Orthoptera of some of the protected areas of Andalucia. 

Distribution of Caelifera in and around Málaga   

Distribution of Ensifera in and around Málaga 

Distribution of Mantodea in and around Malaga

Some Useful Links


Me [Keith Payne] : keithrpayne@hotmail.co.uk

Orthoptera ES : a new website that is starting to compile information on Spanish Orthoptera.

Grasshopper of Europe: a site that provides information, particularly taxonomic information on all the European species.

Orthoptera Species File: information on world orthoptera. A key site for the current systematic position of species.

Ascete: Information on French orthoptera.


Mantis Study Group: the site is intended as a resource for anybody working on praying mantids.

Mantodea Species File:  information on world Mantodea. A key site for the current systematic position of species.

Project Mantodea: an American-based group that is studying the taxonomy of Mantodea.

Insect Mating Systems Lab:  An Australian team based at Macquarie University that is studying the mating behaviour of mantids.